God’s Truth On Your Secret Sexual Sin

WARNING: The following content might not be appropriate for all readers.

From the LYWB.com team: We’ve received lots of comments lately from girls wrestling with masturbation. We’ve written about it here and here and done a vlog about it here, but since we continue to hear from so many of you on this subject, we decided to recruit some help. Meet Tim and Aileen Challies. Tim is a pastor and author. We thought he’d be a good voice on this subject because of his book Sexual Detox: A Guide For Guys Who Are Sick of Porn. We love how the Challies point you toward the Word of God to answer your questions about this tough issue.

The Bible is not silent on the subject of masturbation. It does not leave us guessing. It’s true that Scripture never mentions masturbation specifically. However, because the Bible does speak thoroughly and explicitly about sexuality and sinful lust, it doesn’t have to speak explicitly about something so closely related as masturbation.

Let’s look at two ways we can know that the Bible speaks to masturbation without ever naming it.

First, consider that if masturbation is extremely common (as are most sins), and nearly always associated with sinful lust, we can safely assume the same was true in the ancient world. So think of Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount. He essentially said “to imagine having sex with a woman is a kind of adultery” (Matt. 5:28). Don’t you think masturbation is a clear application and exactly the kind of action He was thinking about?

Second, consider that the Bible never refers directly to abortion. Yet because Scripture speaks clearly about the value of human life and the sin of murder, we are right to conclude that abortion is sin. In almost precisely the same way, because Scripture speaks clearly about the power of sexuality and the sin of lust, we can conclude that masturbation is nearly always sinful. In each case the specific action is so closely linked to the larger category of sin that the connection and shared moral status are simply obvious.

The Damage Done
Why, exactly, is masturbation sinful? Most importantly, just like any other sin, because it violates God’s holiness. Masturbation is against God, against His ways and His purposes for how men and women are to relate to one another in a marital union that reflects the relationship of Christ to the Church.

Masturbation is also sinful because it compromises us. We are made in God’s image. We are meant to glorify Him in every aspect of our lives, and masturbation hinders us in this mission in two principal ways—by polluting our minds and by inclining us to isolation.

Mind Pollution
Sexual gratification, of course, is not merely a physical act, but one that engages the mind, often quite intensely. During masturbation, pornographic images, whether seen externally or visualized internally or just plain imagined, nearly always provide a kind of fuel. Indeed, the vast majority of the time, these fantasies are nearly impossible to separate from the masturbation itself. This type of fantasy can be dangerous in at least two ways.

First, as most adults have learned the hard way, reality is rarely as wonderful as fantasy. Many people create expectations for sex that reality cannot meet. In fantasy everything always works, the other person is always willing and able to participate. In other words, it is nothing like real life. And in that way fantasy eventually and inevitably forms unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of sex.

Second, just as sex scenes in movies rarely involve married couples who can, before God, legitimately enjoy sex, fantasy will rarely revolve around legitimate sexual partners. In theory, it is perfectly fine for a woman to dream of a sexual encounter with her husband, but beyond that God gives us no right to fantasize, even about a pretend husband or a person who may one day be a husband. Masturbation, even under those circumstances, may encourage any woman to fill her mind and desires and fantasies with thoughts of other men. And a single Christian woman, having no God-given partner with whom she can consummate sexual desire, simply has no legitimate reason for pursuing sexual fantasy at all.

Some will protest that when they masturbate it is merely a physical act, something done to relieve stress or boredom. They will insist that they do not succumb to thinking inappropriate thoughts. I am extremely skeptical of these claims, but I do not dismiss them, because I cannot see into anyone else’s heart or read anyone else’s mind. But even assuming, for the sake of argument, that a small proportion of women masturbate without any pornographic images or fantasies in their heads, there is still at least one powerful reason why masturbation is so harmful.

Isolation
A close examination of the Bible’s teaching on sexuality uncovers no reason to believe that God ever intended sex to be a private pursuit. Indeed, the heart and soul of sexuality is the giving and receiving of sexual pleasure between two people—one husband and one wife.Sex is intended to be a means of mutual fulfillment, an expression of love in which a husband thinks foremost of his wife and the wife thinks foremost of her husband. It is a uniquely powerful means by which husband and wife can fulfill the Lord’s command to esteem another higher than oneself. As they fulfill each other’s needs, they also have their own needs fulfilled. It is a beautiful picture of intimacy! As any married couple can testify, the more selfless the sex, the better sex becomes. The more each spouse seeks to please the other, the more fulfilling, gratifying, and beautiful the experience.

This mutual giving and receiving, the heart of God’s purpose for sexuality, is exactly what masturbation does not and cannot provide. Masturbation strips sexuality of its divine purpose of mutual fulfillment. Where legitimate sexual expression is meant to produce unity, masturbation produces isolation and division. Masturbation is inherently self-centered. An act meant to be shared toward two people is completely and exclusively about one person, all alone. Masturbation deeply undermines a woman’s ability to deny and resist her most self-centered, sinful, isolationist tendencies.

Masturbation simply cannot fulfill God’s design for sexuality, and thus has no place in the life of one who calls herself a Christian.

Note: If you are someone who has struggled with masturbation or other sexual sin, be sure to come back to the blog tomorrow for Tim’s post on handling the guilt.

(To read part 2 of this post, click here.)

About Author

Guest Blogger

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

  • * Requests or gives personal information such as email address, address, or phone number.
  • * Attacks other readers.
  • * Uses vulgar or profane language.
  • Anon

    You could just masturbate when your body feels the urges. It’s safe, healthy, and natural. Don’t risk your personal well being over the thought of ticking off your imaginary friend. : )

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      ​So… while we are thinking things through…would you leave this one alone?

      Thanks, friend…

      *Carrie Gaul*

      Revive Our Hearts | Biblical Correspondent

      866.842.8381 Ext. 2089

      cgaul@ReviveOurHearts.com

      ReviveOurHearts.com | TrueWoman.com

      Revive Our Hearts

      Calling Women to Freedom, Fullness, and Fruitfulness in Christ.

      *​*

  • Anonymous

    This is total crap. Masturbation is healthy for teenage girls, it helps them understand their bodies better. Sometimes Christians amaze me with how backed up their vaginas are, like holy cow. Get real. Some studies have even shown that people who masturbate are more likely to have fulfilling sexual relationships, AND IT AIDS IN PROTECTING CHASTITY. That means, you’re gonna be good at sex when you’re MARRIED. So done with the bs on this website…just learned that apparently, homosexuality isn’t a real thing. LOL. What were all the studies on the xq28 chromosome for then??? Cripes, would you pull your head out of your ass, it’s not a hat…

  • anonymous for now

    I have a similar question, though it’s only happened a few times. I was recently tempted to give into this sin again. though I’m currently right with God about it and have confessed the ones in my past. However, a few mornings ago, I was tempted just after I awoke and was still back in bed. Then, I dreamed I did it… I think. I’m not totally sure if it was reality or not. Then last night I dreamed doing it agin, along with everything that went into doing it in the past, including my thought pattern and stuff. I know this second one was a dream because I only woke up after the fact but it was a little unnerving. What should I do?

    • Scripture tells us that whenever we are tempted God has promised to provide a way of escape for us (1 Cor. 10:13). Taking your thoughts captive ( 2 Cor. 10:5) during our waking hours requires we practice what one author calls “threshold thinking”. This means that every thought that crosses the threshold of our minds must be examined in light of God’s Truth. If the thought is in line with God’s Word – then we may think on it; if it is not, then we must choose to dismiss it from our mind and to dwell on what is true (Phil. 4:8).

      As you actively engage in this battle to renew your mind in the truth of God’s Word you should also experience a decreasing occurrence of dreams that are impure. You must remember, however, that the enemy has no desire for you to gain or maintain freedom in this area; he will seek to destroy you in whatever manner he can. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8).
      Here are several steps that will help you guard against the attack of the enemy while you sleep.

      • Ask the Lord to show you if there are any areas where you have given ground to the enemy sexually – either physically or mentally. Repent of any sin that He reveals and ask Him to reclaim the ground that you have surrendered as a result of that sin. Then be purposeful in meditating and memorizing passages of Scripture that will serve as a shield against future attacks of the enemy.

      • Be diligent to guard against watching or reading anything that is promiscuous or questionable. Images and thoughts implanted in our minds become fodder for our flesh and the enemy.

      • Spend time praying each evening before going to bed. Ask the Lord to place a hedge of protection about your mind as you sleep.

      • Let your last thoughts of the day be focused on praise and worship of the Lord. You may even want to go to sleep quoting scripture.

      • If you awake from an immoral dream, immediately confess the dream and your desire to be free from such immorality to the Lord. Then use that “temptation” as a springboard for specific prayer. Choose a prayer target such as an unsaved loved one and resolve to pray for that individual every time you are plagued by an immoral dream. If the enemy is responsible for tormenting you while you sleep, he will grow weary of you using his “arrow of destruction” as a call to prayer.

      • If your parents are believers let them know of the battle you are facing in your dreams and ask them to pray for you. Exposing that which lies in the darkness to the light of truth removes much of the power of sin.

      I’m praying right now that you will gain victory over this area of assault and accusation against your mind!

    • kkh

      You should masturbate when you need to. It isn’t a “sin”. Do you really think these dreams will stop if you keep repressing your urges?

  • anonymous for now

    I don’t know if this will help so long after you posted, but though I cannot answer your question, I would recommend Josh Harris’ book “Sex is not the problem (lust is).” It’s really helped me in this area, maybe God can use it in your life too.

  • Virgo

    I never masturbated. Ever. Guess I’m really an angel and not just my mother’s opinion.

    • kkh

      You should try it! I mean, its YOUR body! Set it FREE!!

  • Kevin Eli Rivera

    Im a 22 year old male, and I thank God for the gift of sexual union, but I struggle with sexual urges, especially as a single virgin. I hate the fact that I go through this natural exual need that lust my mind, many times ive prayed, yet I fail.There has been times I wished I was never born because of this!! I don’t masturbate because I don’t want to, its because I have no self-control, while many of my friends married younger than me, they have won the war I go through, for I don’t desire to lust over a woman, but because my secual energy is desperately sky high! I hate it when I’m trying to avoid contact at looking at all the beautiful woman God created, yet out of no where my heart starts pumping, givng my secual urges in a high response, and also my emotional need for having a woman in my life. Ive had female friends, and never had a relationship, ive had feelings for them, but they have other man in their heart, or other reasons besides not having feelings for a relationship. I’ve truly lost hope, I ask God to show me more of him, I want to have intimacy with him, but this gets me nowhere. I feel lonliness in a conjugal way, and even if Christ feels my heart with his love, the physical lonliness is there…I pray that I wont go to hell for my sins, especially masturbation, which due to my urge of sex, and a virgin, im out of control, one week I battle it, then I feel like my springs are full, and what can I do?? I’m flesh, and only by dying I will stop sinning, if thats God’s will, then I have no choice but to accept death, so I will no longer hurt him….Life is beautiful, but sexual needs just kills it for me…All I want is to fall in love with a woman and with Christ even more….I’ve lost hope…marriage is beautiful, a challenge, but a blessing from God…if you are married, remember there is still hope to unite what God has united, and in love for one another, like in 1 Corinthians 7.

  • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

    Kevin Eli Rivera

    We appreciate you acknowledging the struggles you face as a single man.

    You will find specific help related to manhood at Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood (http://www.familylife.com/steppingup) and Every Man Ministries (https://www.everymanministries.com/). Both are excellent resources to help challenge and encourage men of all ages.

    Since this blog is for young women, your commented has been deleted.

  • Hermes

    “Is it true that God is present everywhere?” a little girl asked her mother; “I think that’s indecent.”
    Nietzsche, Die fröliche Wissenschaft

  • ConvictedLady

    Praise the Lord and Thank you for this blog.

    I have accepted Christ at the age of 17 and now I am 25. I have been actively serving the Lord in various ministries in the church. I want to serve the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul. However, I want to humble myself and acknowledge that I have sinned against our good Lord in this area of my life when I started doing this sexual sin. I remember this urges came up even before I was a Christian because I am fond of reading romance pocketbook. But when I accepted Christ this was erased in my mind, been victorious for a few years or so but it came up again after I borrowed my friends phone which unfortunately has pornographic videos. My flesh enjoyed what I saw.
    I asked God for forgiveness, and regained strength to live a pure life for few years and actively serving the Lord. But recently, I have did this sinful things again, I remember that it is because unconsciously of romantic movies or lovestory that I saw, and I have been stressed at work too. (I even doubt if this things called self-sex is a sin because I did this without thinking of someone that I knew) so I searched sites who could help me answer my question. I am very convicted, felt guilt as well. I really thanked this blog because it answers me clearly that this thing is a SIN.
    Now, I want to seek advice from you dear Christian readers and helpful author on how I can TOTALLY stop this.
    I have been serving the Lord faithfully, but I am really convicted and ashamed now and seems like the fire that I have in serving Him starting to slowly die, I even doubt if God could still forgive me..
    Please help. Thank you and God bless you.

    • There is no sin on earth that is beyond the forgiveness of our Lord, my friend. Do not allow the enemy to cause you to doubt God’s love and forgiveness. Christ died for all our sins – past, present and future. We are encouraged that you are sensitive to the conviction of the Lord and want to overcome this in His power.

      We encourage you to find one friend in whom you can confide and make time to confess your sin to her. She can pray for you, encourage you and hold you accountable by asking the hard questions about what you are reading and dwelling on. She could be one you call to talk to when you are struggling with fighting the temptations. God promises that He will always provide a way out so that we do not have to sin (1 Cor. 10:13). We just have to be willing to do the hard work and take the way out. You may find it difficult to confess this to a friend but when you bring your secret sin out into the light, the power that our enemy seems to have over you will be diminished. Will you pray and ask the Lord whom you can talk to about this?

      We also want to encourage you to get rid of anything that seems to trigger your sexual sins. Consider romance novels, movies, music – whatever seems to stimulate those urges. Please listen to what Paula shares what she did as she worked to overcome this in her life: http://tinyurl.com/6n87oxq

      The other thing we would encourage you to do is to memorize Scripture so that when you are battling temptations, His Word is readily available for you to use. You might consider Philippians 4:4-8; Romans 8:31-39 and Psalm 103. These will be powerful passages to have in your arsenal of weapons.

      We have paused and prayed for you today asking God to fill you with His courage to fight for purity and for Him to assure you of His eternal covenant love for you.

    • kkh

      Holy crap! (Literally) The name of this blog is perfect, at least in relation to the lies being told and the guilt being laid on people here! You certainly don’t need to be “forgiven” for something that is perfectly natural, and perfectly HARMLESS! The only harm going on are the unnecessary guily trips on this blog!!

  • kkh

    You people can’t be serious. Now masturbation is on the religious dogma list of so-called “sins”? Yet another reason to RUN from religion, and run swiftly! “The bible says….” You do realize that the bible was written by men, correct? You might as well be saying “The Catcher in the Rye” says…that was written by a man too. Good luck with all this dogma, and living in fear of a “hellfire”, and etc etc…. I will continue living in the light!! You poor scared rabbits.

  • kkh

    You will CONTINE to have these “urges”, because it is NORMAL and NATURAL! Just do it already!! Who is it hurting? Absolutely, positively NO ONE! It’s far better than having random, anonymous sex and catching a disease or getting accidentally pregnant! Man, the guilt trips religion lays on people are nothing short of CRUEL!

  • kkh

    I read these comments and they really make me sad. You guys are all being made to feel shame and guilt over something that is natural, and if it’s not compulsive, HARMLESS! How horrible to see that religious dogma is continuing to make people feel bad about themselves over something so trivial. A little sexual gratification that doesn’t give you diseases or get you pregnant…what’s the harm? Why do you think we have a clitoris? COME ON!! The guilt trips being spread in here, in the name of “Jesus”, are WAY more harmful than rubbing one out occasionally. “Lies Young Women Believe” is the PERFECT name for this site.

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Posting your personal thoughts is not a problem, but comments deemed inappropriate or slanderous of God will be deleted.

      • kkh

        “Slanderous of God”? I never said “Screw god” or “I hate god”, so…??? I would never “slander” any gods because I don’t believe in them. I’m not sure how that could be considered “slanderous” but I guess that’s your decision to make.

      • kkh

        Ok, how was my comment “slanderous” or “inappropriate”…because you disagree with me? So you decided I was “slandering” god? I don’t even BELIEVE in god! What I DO believe in is not making these poor women feel like they should be ashamed for masturbation! This is so sad. And this is exactly why I RAN, not WALKED from the church as soon as I could. And that isn’t “slander”, it is the truth. There are enough things in this world to deal with, without making people feel like big ol’ “sinners” because they rub one out occasionally, rather than having unsafe sex, getting pregnant, catching an STD… with all the generally craziness going on in this world, THIS is what you are worried about? How sad, and how unnecessary.

  • kkh

    Disobeying god…Seriously? The answer is you can’t stop it. Sex and masturbation are normal and natural. The religious dogma being laid on you is the only thing doing any harm to you. Our bodies were made to have sex. If you keep repressing those natural urges, you are going to keep having those dreams. Contrary to what you have probably been told, the “devil” isn’t giving you those dreams, those urges. It is simply because you are a HUMAN! It’s a natural human drive. “Prayer” isn’t going to change that! You aren’t a “bad person”, nor are you “sinning” because of this. Christianity teaches that “god” created the body…well he created sexual organs along w everything else, right? So is “god” so cruel, he would give you genitalia, and urges, but then tell you not to act on them? Why, just to torture you?? Just do what you need to, and let all that guilt go! Running from all that senseless religious dogma was the most freeing thing I ever did! Fortunately I was still a child, so not much damage had been done. RUN!

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      God did far more than create sexual organs, kkh. He created the beauty of physical intimacy to be expressed between a man and his wife within the covenant of marriage. Sexual intimacy, by design, is far more than physical—it is a gift from a good God to be enjoyed according to His intentions by those He created.

      • kkh

        I agree with you 100% that sexual intimacy is far more than physical. I didn’t say a single thing about intimacy. The subject was how masturbation is a horrible, “sinful” thing in the eyes of this blog, correct? I was responding to that.

        Pronouns like “he” shouldn’t be capitalized. Sorry, I’m not one of those “grammar Nazis” on purpose. I can’t help it, I’m a part time copy editor.

  • kkh

    THANK YOU!!! Give me a break with all the guilt and shame being thrown around on this site!!

  • kkh

    Don’t stop. It isn’t a “sin” to have a self-stimulated orgasm. Stop feeling so guilty already!